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Basic Facts
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
conventional short form: Sierra Leone
local long form: Republic of Sierra Leone
local short form: Sierra Leone
Gevernment typeconstitutional democracy
Capital name: Freetown
geographic coordinates: 8 30 N, 13 15 W
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of light green (top), white, and light blue
Currencyleone (SLL)
Internet country code.sl
Ports and terminalsFreetown, Pepel, Sherbro Islands
Agriculture productsrice, coffee, cocoa, palm kernels, palm oil, peanuts; poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs; fish
Industriesdiamond mining; small-scale manufacturing (beverages, textiles, cigarettes, footwear); petroleum refining, small commercial ship repair
Geography
LocationWestern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Guinea and Liberia
Coordinates8 30 N, 11 30 W
ContinentAfrica
Area total: 71,740 sq km
land: 71,620 sq km
water: 120 sq km
Boundaries total: 958 km
border countries: Guinea 652 km, Liberia 306 km
Coastline402 km
Climatetropical; hot, humid; summer rainy season (May to December); winter dry season (December to April)
Terraincoastal belt of mangrove swamps, wooded hill country, upland plateau, mountains in east
Natural resourcesdiamonds, titanium ore, bauxite, iron ore, gold, chromite
Natural hazardsdry, sand-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara (December to February); sandstorms, dust storms
People
Population6,005,250 (July 2006 est.)
Ethnic groups20 African ethnic groups 90% (Temne 30%, Mende 30%, other 30%), Creole (Krio) 10% (descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area in the late-18th century), refugees from Liberia's recent civil war, small numbers of Europeans, Lebanese, Pakistanis, and Indians
ReligionsMuslim 60%, indigenous beliefs 30%, Christian 10%
LanguagesEnglish (official, regular use limited to literate minority), Mende (principal vernacular in the south), Temne (principal vernacular in the north), Krio (English-based Creole, spoken by the descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who were settled in the Freetown area, a lingua franca and a first language for 10% of the population but understood by 95%)

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